As COVID-19 cases explode in India, Canada ready to help with medical supplies: Anand

Canada is ready to supply India with medical equipment as the country struggles to contain record surges in COVID-19 cases and deaths.

“The answer to the question is yes, we are in touch with India and our High Commissioner in India Nadir Patel about a number of options that may be on the table for us to assist,” procurement minister Anita Anand said during a press conference Friday, when asked whether Canada would step in to help.

“We will stand ready with PPE and ventilators and any items that might be useful for the government of India.”

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In an emailed statement to Global News, Anand’s office said on April 23 they had “no further information” on what types of personal protective equipment (PPE) would be delivered or when more medical supplies would arrive.

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To date, Anand said Canada has already procured 2.7 billion items of PPE, 1.5 billion of which have already been delivered to India.

“We will continue to be engaged to assist wherever possible,” she said.

What appears to be the world’s worst COVID-19 surge is wreaking havoc in India, suffocating patients in-hospital as officials scramble to obtain more desperately needed medical supplies.

Click to play video: 'Canada bans flights from India, Pakistan for 30 days'

Canada bans flights from India, Pakistan for 30 days

Canada bans flights from India, Pakistan for 30 days

For the third day in a row, India set a global daily record of new infections with 346,786 confirmed cases over the past day. The country’s health ministry reported another 2,624 deaths in the past 24 hours, pushing India’s COVID-19 fatalities to 189,544.

To date, India has detected more than 16 million confirmed cases, falling just behind the United States.

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A “double-mutant” variant of the virus first discovered in India known as B.1.617 is driving the new wave forward. Canada imposed a 30-day ban on passenger flights from India and Pakistan on Thursday in response to growing concerns over the spread of the new variant.

On Friday, 77 cases of the B.1.617 variant were detected in Ontario, Alberta, British Columbia and Quebec.

More to come. 

–With files from The Associated Press

© 2021 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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